We all grow up to think Disneyland is the greatest place on Earth and then, perhaps, with that idea we think that Cinderella’s castle is among the most romantic sights we will ever get to see in life. But then you go from Disneyland to Disney World and the castle there is much, much bigger with the ability to actually stay there or at least dine there contrary to the Disneyland version. Then when you’re even older you get to go to Epcot because it’s less boring then when you were 10 years old and in Epcot you realize that there’s an entire world out there that you’d like to spend more than just one day in the park visiting. With Epcot, you realize that Cinderella’s castle is actually based on another castle, in Bavaria, and it is REAL and beyond the life size you’ve grown accustomed to. At that point you’re like… my age… and you just want to get out of town, constantly!
But I’m not to Bavaria yet. I’m in Paris. I’ve never been to Paris but I believe that every born and raised Disney Princess needs to come here with someone they love. And that’s just the thing, I have avoided traveling to the cliche parts of the world (like Paris) because I had no previous love that seemed fitting or willing until now.
Stark and I arrived in Paris on Thursday morning (yesterday). I slept only 2-3 hours of the flight after we had a less than amazing in-flight dinner (don’t get the pasta, it’s basically spaghettios) and watched The Five Year Engagement for free while sharing headphones and a television. The flight was about eight hours so dinner and a movie took up most of the time. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, I woke up long enough to want to look out the window. I’ve flown over the ocean before but never during day time. I’ve never seen vast amounts of blue surrounding me. I thought it would be enough to make me nervous, but instead, when I opened the window to brand new morning light all I could see were clouds rolling by like big, white puffs of cotton candy.
I arrived fully awake and a bit excited. Stark was content with sleeping on the plane and probably could have slept another ten hours if we were on our way to Africa instead of France. But he was coherent enough to get us on the RER C towards the Eiffel Tower. The hour long ride between trains left me sleepy again so by the time we were done traveling, I was in sleep walking mode and had no clue that we had arrived at the stop just below the tower. It was only when a small child yelled with delight that I looked up, out of the trees that were covering the sidewalk, and saw the beautiful Eiffel Tower stretching towards a clear, blue sky.
We scurried along as I constantly looked back over my shoulder at the Eiffel Tower and everything that surrounded it – street carts, carousels, people selling gosh knows what and lots and lots of trees. I was in love! As we crossed the River Seine towards arrondissement 16 where we were staying. Our apartment was not far from the Eiffel Tower. In fact, it was directly across the river and just one street down on the right bank. We managed to get in and settled on third floor where a cute French girl gave us the house tour complete with a little two person balcony overlooking the Seine and the Eiffel. It was all so much to take in that even the overwhelming excitement put me right back to sleep.
We planned on taking just a quick nap to calibrate, but my lack of sleep from previous nights set in and we were getting out of bed by 7:30 Paris time. We both had to prep for work and all we had time to do was find a local market and put together something quick to eat at home. With a brief break after a rush of emails and phone calls that both Stark and I had to be on, we took a long walk through the park next to the Eiffel Tower. Stark showed me his favorite spots and directed me towards the best nearby bakery and food. After wandering the streets of Paris hand in hand well into the night, we went back home feeling exhausted again. I finished up work by 2:30 in the morning and went to bed, waking again at 6:30 to a body who thought it was only down for a nap. For a few hours I read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. The book was too interesting to put down at first. This is Hemingway’s last novel before he died and it is written as a memoir to his time in Paris. One of the things I am most excited to do here is my own Midnight in Paris tour of the bookstores and cafes that were once perused by such great names as Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
Finally back to bed by 9:00am, I thought for sure I would only sleep an hour or two so I didn’t bother with the alarm. As I woke up periodically and glanced at my wrist watch, it seemed only a half hour had gone by and then another and then another… little did I know that I was tired enough to lie completely still, making the movement in my watch pause until it felt another motion from my wrist. Rather than just an hour or two having gone by, several had passed with ease. It was 4:00pm when Stark looked at his phone and gasped. We had missed an entire day of adventure and were awake again, just in time for work. But at least we’re working from Paris.
A couple times a day one of us will stand up, go to the window, and with the same shock as when we first arrived we will point and say, “Look, it’s right there…” I am so amazed at how overwhelming and excited I am each time I realize how unreal this location is. The apartment is fantastic. I loved cooking dinner in the kitchenette last night, doing laundry, and sitting on the porch enjoying tea. I love feeling relaxed as though I live here, for now. I feel no need to get out there and rush to a tour guide. There is so much to do but the most Parisian thing to do is to enjoy the time. It is amazing and wildly romantic to be so close to an icon like the Eiffel Tower. I cannot wait for tonight and tomorrow where we can take advantage of our time and dive into what it is to be truly Parisian starting with the adoption of their laid back, slow nature of enjoying their time.